Update.. OT Moving to Michigan.. Brighton, Dexter, Ypsilanti
Dexter is your best bet, especially if you have kids in school. Ypsi schools are terrible and brighton doesn't really have anything to brag about. Dexter is in a great location for both work and play (tons of recreation around) and is a relatively affordable place to live. I grew up in Chelsea (10 miles away) and the two towns are almost identical.
they are eerily similar. Except one town is good at football while the other...isn't.
Really, though, the biggest difference is proximity to Ann Arbor. One thing I do prefer about Chelsea over Dexter (aside from its superior high school football) is the extra buffer between it and A2 for those of us who strongly prefer small towns. The separation is nice. The downside to both Chelsea and Dexter, though, is that they both have Ann Arbor-like prices.
So, to the OP: if cost of living is your primary concern, Ypsi is your best bet. If you want a city that seems bigger (thanks to its location near the intersection of two highways) even though it's really not, Brighton is a fine option. If you want quiet (but not really cheap) living and well-regarded schools in a small rural town, both Chelsea and Dexter would be good options.
As a Chelsea resident for nearly 30 years I'm partial to it over Dexter, but I'm kind of biased. (Also, I follow high school sports, and Dexter is Chelsea's primary rival.)
I would suggest Northville, it's a lot nicer and has one of the best public school systems in the state.
First things first, there's no yip in Ypsilanti.
on the penalty kill
An "expert" on all things Ypsilanti once made me listen to a terrible country/folk song that had a bunch of bad puns on cities. The singer claimed to have "put the Yip in Yip-silanti."
If you're moving to the Washtenaw County area, why aren't you looking at Ann Arbor? The cost of living may be slightly higher, but it is worth it.
I would avoid Brighton if you can. It is very vanilla, lots of Spartans, and feels like a plastic town. I am not from there, but my girlfriend of 5 years is and since I don't have any family in Michigan I have spent just about every holiday and long weekend there. It is one of those towns with a huge gulf between a few really rich neighborhoods and some "caucasian individuals with serious sunburn above their back with an affinity towards motor sports." I know some people who enjoy it, but all in all not a favorable account. Besides, do you want your children going to high school where Drew Henson went?
Ypsi is dangerous, but at least it has some local pride and character (if you are careful). Maybe not the best place for families, but I personally don't mind Ypsilanti at all.
I have heard great things about Dexter and have a lot of colleagues who live there to raise their young children. There is a lot to do for families in the Dexter/Chelsea area, I think it'd be a great place for you. Even I have a lot of fun visiting friends out there, I think this is your best bet by far.
Of course, Ann Arbor still bests them all, but I take it that is off the table cost-wise?
I grew up here, and moved back here and it is not dangerous. And if you disagree, I will fucking cut you.
Hahaha fair enough- I have never lived there but I get my accounts from people who live there and used to live there. Maybe it depends on what side of the water tower you live on after all. I still wouldn't raise a young family there if I wasn't familiar with the town.
Don't hate on Henson - kid was one of the most talented football AND baseball players in the country when he was in HS, and probably would have been a good NFL QB if he stuck around. So I think you could do worse than have your kid grow up to be a young millionaire with immense athletic talent and a future in announcing.
But yeah, probably /s. Just talking up Drew a bit.
Ah yes, probably should have added the /s tag in there...
I live in (read: on the outskirts of) Ypsi. As previously mentioned, if you have kids, AA or Dexter are your best choices. Its not terrible here, rent is significantly cheaper, but there was a shooting a half mile from my apt last summer in a kmart parking lot. If you don't have kids, Ypsi can be ok and cheap.
As a product of A2 schools I would not send my kids there. A2 is a great for singles, couples, retirees but is expensive and highly regulated town. Trying to do business in A2 is very difficult. Dexter and Chelsea are much better and you are close to what A2 offers.
I'd consider Brighton, Ypsi not so much.
As a fellow product of Ann Arbor Public Schools, I am of the completely opposite opinion. I would absolutely send my kids there. What makes you come to your decision?
Limited experience, but Dexter seems the best, though it is a little more "rural" than Brighton and especially Ypsi. I lived in Ypsi for a little over a year and it was fine, but the schools are not very good (though I heard if you live in certain parts, your kid may be eligible for the A2 schools, so something to look into), and outside of Depot Town there really isn't anywhere to walk or be social. I know little about Brighton except that every kid I met from there seemed to live in a subdivision and drive a "brah-approved" vehicle (Tahoe, Jeep, racer truck).
Ypsi is actually pretty small in terms of population, but the surrounding townships are larger and often get you an Ypsi mailing address. They have lower taxes than AA or Ypsi and large parts are in the Ann Arbor school system. If you want to live in a small town, choose Dexter. If you don't, look at areas a little outside the AA city limits, if not AA proper.
One note of caution: while it's true that some parts of Ypsi are zoned to Ann Arbor schools, those particular schools, on the eastern edge of town, don't have as good a reputation as the rest of the A2 district - at least until you get to high school (Huron).
I'd eliminate Ypsilanti.
I'm from Brighton (from ages 10 to 23), and I'm luke warm about it. It's a nice place that's relatively safe, but it's also very pretentious. The schools are pretty good, but your kids will end up wanting nothing but North Face jackets and Honda Civics when they grow up. However, I'm not sure Dexter is much better. It's becoming the "hip" place to move. I don't know how old your kids are, but if they are really young, they'll probably end up getting brainwashed the same way in Dexter. So all other things being equal I'd probably choose Dexter just because it's easier to drive to Ann Arbor and closer to Ann Arbor. Going down US-23 from Brighton to Ann Arbor is hell on Earth.
Oh my god, US-23 is SUCH a nightmare.
Livingston County is something like 97% white, which in my book is a huge strike against Brighton.
North Face and Honda Civics? That's modest here in Grosse Pointe...
I would look at Plymouth, Novi, Canton and also Saline. Ypsi is out of the question IMO unless you are making less than 60k a year.
If you are looking at private schools you will have plenty of optins.
If you like quaint and small you will have lots of choices as well like Chelsea.
AA is a solid option as well.
Dexter and Chelsea are awesome but put ya on the wrong side of AA and too far from the rest of SE Michigan.
Plymouth has the same small-town feel, great schools, and is close to AA. I live there now and my commute door to campus is 20 minutes.
Bonus points if you can land a place in either Downtown Plymouth or Old Town Plymouth. It's only a short walk separating the two, but between the weekly festivals, farmer's markets, and family concerts Downtown, coupled with the resurgence of Old Town you will always have family friendly food and entertainment walking distance away.
As I'm sure you are aware, the real estate market is terrible in Michigan right now, but many of my neighbors have already made a bundle in the past few years in Plymouth. Makes for a good investment if you are considering buying a home.
Northville is a more expensive, older, slower moving sister to Plymouth and worth considering if you have the coin.
My advice is take a drive through downtown Plymouth. If you come on a Friday afternoon/evening, bring the family and a beach blanket to take in the concert on the square.
"wrong side of AA and too far from the rest of SE Michigan" is entirely personal preference and thus not particularly useful when trying to inform about the area. To some it might be the "wrong side," but to others it might be ideal to get away from the bustle and sprawl of SE Michigan between A2 and Detroit. Providing an arbitrary negative viewpoint as you did with Chelsea and Dexter can give people a poor view of the towns for no good reason.
I'm not offended or angry or anything; I'm just not sure it's helpful to try to sell the OP on what you like. "Wrong side" could helpfully refer to a crime-ridden area of a town, but not so much to a town on the opposite side of A2 from population center of the state.
All three of your choices have advantages and disadvantages: Dexter is a nice small town, but the emphasis is on small. Brighton is a little bigger, but it's even more vanilla and even further out. Ypsi has more flavor, but decidedly worse schools (note: there is a big diff btw Ypsilanti (older, funkier, more fun, less safe) than Ypsilanti Twp (newer, more cookie cutter, more safe).
If you're primarily interested in schools, you should be strongly consider at either Saline or Ann Arbor (be aware the Ann Arbor school district is bigger than the city of Ann Arbor - it includes some of Pittsfield Twp and Superior Twp) but those two are definitely more pricey (esp. in Ann Arbor's case if you want to be near the action; Saline has a litte, nice downtown but nothing like Ann Arbor; Saline's high school is nicer than some colleges).
Just because you may live in Ypsi doesn't mean you're stuck with their school system. I just recently purchased a place in Pittsfield Twp. that is technically Ypsilanti, but is Ann Arbor school district. I would recommend you look for a similar situation. That way you get the advantages of living in the area, but pay less in taxes.
I grew up in Chelsea, and would definitely recommend checking it out as a potential place to live. I now spend a lot of time in Ypsi, as my girlfriend of 2 years goes to EMU and lives there. While there are certainly areas of Ypsi that are awful, and dangerous, once you get to the township it's not nearly as bad as the rep it has, at least in my personal experience. My dad grew up in Ypsi, and his mom still lives in the same house that my dad grew up in, and she has never felt unsafe there, even since my grandpa passed and she has been living alone.
To sum up, if you want somewhere cheap, and don't care about the school system, definitely look into Ypsi.
I've lived in all three, and would say:
Dexter area has best of all worlds - good, and increasingly better, schools; fairly low taxes; a good mix of housing options; very quick drive into A2; strong preservation/open space policies in the townships (Scio and Webster); close to a ton of recreation (Pinckney and Waterloo, along with other parks). It is fairly white, though, and is purely suburban and rural, with quite a few dirt roads.
Ann Arbor is Ann Arbor - all the great attributes of a small university city; lots of culture, parks, etc.. However, the taxes on real estate are often 2x the surrounding areas. Also, the roads are absolutely awful, and not likely to improve in the near future. In my opinion, the schools are somewhat overrated - at least uneven - with possible budget cut effects making the future a bit less certain.
Yspsilanti - I would not agree that it's dangerous, unless you live in certain areas. Some parts of the city are quite nice. On the other hand, bad schools, a sense that a good part of it is falling apart, and a feeling that it is somewhat "cut off" from other places (e.g. not a pleasant drive into A2 unless you take one of the northern, more suburban routes) make is much less desirable.
I currently live in Dexter, with an Ann Arbor mailing address; it's my favorite of the three in terms of overall ambiance, and I can be in town (A2) in less than 15 minutes.
Seriously, people, I don't get the "well, it's nice, BUT there are a lot of white people." What does race have to do with anything? To me, as long as the neighborhood is safe, the people are friendly, and the town/residents have some character, what does it matter? I guarantee you anyone on this board would get reemed for saying, "it's nice, but there are just too many (fill in the ethnic blank) people."
UM breeds a nasty type of racial self-hatred with regard to being white.
My guess is that there is a stigma with a town being predominately white. The people are either snobs or rednecks that don't like minorities in their community. They may also be warning biracial couples that may not be embraced by the community. My wife is white, and one thing I've noticed since I've married her is that her friends and family members are real conscientious about inviting us to functions in certain locales because of that stigma.
Im from brighton, and although theres is a lot of kids who have rich parents to get them anything, I would say brighton is your best bet. Its a great place to have a family in my opion
I live in Ann Arbor, but I really like Dexter a lot. Nice small town feel with a great little downtown. Housing prices are dirt cheap there, and they'll probably rebound significantly if the housing market in Michigan stabilizes (and that's a big if). Chelsea is similar, but I prefer Dexter probably because it doesn't have a huge Jiffy Mix factory in the middle of its downtown.
Brighton is kinda boring. Ypsi has bad schools. If those are your three choices, I would go with Dexter.
...the factory isn't quite in the middle of downtown. This is downtown:
If I were shooting from the other side of the street, you'd see the Jiffy silos in the background...but not in the middle of downtown.
(As a longtime Chelsea resident, I had to say something.)
The kind in me says having a brownie mix factory downtown (at the edge of it, at least) should be a GOOD thing.
An the grownup in me says the Common Grill is probably one of the top 5 restaurants in Washtenaw County. Not sure if Brighton or Dexter can compete on that dimension.
do you like small towns, or do you prefer bigger cities? We're (naturally) going to give you our opinions based on our own preferences (which is why small and/or rural can be listed as either a benefit or a drawback depending on who's talking), but I'd rather not try to sell you on small towns like Dexter or Chelsea if you prefer the atmosphere of a bigger city like Ann Arbor. Likewise, I'd rather not tell you Ann Arbor is good if you prefer a smaller quieter town like Dexter or Chelsea.
...of those cities. Spent the first 10 years of my life in Ypsilanti, but my parents moved us to Brighton because they didn't like the Ypsi schools at all.
- Ypsi is more of a blue-collar town. It's far more diverse than Dexter and Brighton, thanks in part to EMU, but there is more crime, and as I mentioned, the schools aren't terrific. The cost of living is fairly low, and housing is very inexpensive for the most part. I can't tell you much about the city taxes, I'm afraid.
- Brighton has been one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, and as such there is a fair amount of "new" money there. The cost of housing is going to be higher, and possibly much higher than in Ypsi, but in general you'll end up with more property. The schools are pretty good, though probably not at the level of Ann Arbor. And depending on what you'll be doing at your job, Brighton could be an ideal location, as it is right as the crossroads of US-23 and I-96...it's 45 minutes or less to Lansing, Flint, Detroit, and Ann Arbor.
- I can't say much about Dexter...but I drive through it fairly frequently, and it seems like a quaint little town.
I live in Manchester, just south of dexter, and the area is very nice but know that if you live in washtenaw they have high land taxes throughout the county. If that is any part of your final decision.
edit: btw Manchester has the best middle school in the state. Just an fyi in case grade schools is a large part of your decision.
You might consider Pinckney ahead of Brighton, if part of the attraction was a town north of A2. I'm not sure if the town is Washtenaw or Livingston Co., and its less convenient to A2 than even Ann Arbor, but it might be a happy medium in some way.
Depends on what your looking for. Pinckney is atleast 20 mins from the freeway (23). Ive lived in Pinckney, South Lyon, Hartland, and Brighton. Pretty much all of Livingston County. I currently live in Brighton and love it. Everything is there, you dont have to drive anywhere. Costco, Home Depot, Movies, The Green Oak Mall, Kohls, a great downtown etc. A lot of sub divisions. If your looking for rural with a Kroger, Meijer, etc. Pinckney, Hartland, South Lyon. South Lyon has the Hotel which is a great place for beers and food. South Lyon also has a lot of new sub divisions. Pinckney has Zukey Lk Tavern...awesome place on the Lake, but that is all Pinckney has and is far from the free way. Hartland has a meijer and walmart, brand new and some other restaurantes. Just depends on what you want.
I grew up in Howell, MI...but that was back in the 60s and 70s. All I remember about Brighton is they use to have the only mall, on the east side of town, for miles, unless you wanted to drive to Ann Arbor or Southfield! Everything was so rural back then! My parents sold their ranch in the early 90s and moved to Okemos. Brighton use to be a nice town with a little duck pond in the middle of town...but that was years ago. The last time I've been back there it has grown so much up the I-96 corridor, it looks like southeast Livingston County is now part of the Detroit Suburbs. I would pick Dexter. You are close to Ann Arbor plus you have some of the small town atmosphere.
Dexter is great and the outdoors are easily accessible. Gorgeous friendly city and the river is right there. Go live in Dexter.
Don't listen to the H-8-erzzz, there are plenty of nice/safe neighborhoods in Ypsi with good grade schools. Look towards the west side of Ypsi. For middle/high school, your best bets are Ann Arbor and Saline schools. A lot of kids I went to elemntary school with ended up moving to Ann Arbor zoned neighborhoods as they got to middle/high school age... so that's always an option.
YHS C/O '98?
10 minutes outside of A2. The drrive from Dexter Cider MIll to Main Street A2 is one of the prettiest in all Michigan (and a great running/biking track). I can't think of a better place to raise my kids who are as at home in A2 at Yost or the Big House as they are canoeing on the Huron or seeing deer,cows, hawks, sheep , Llama on the farms that cover the beautiful countryside. Violent crime is practically non existent.
5-6 th grade Creekside is good (new principal is making it better). Mill Creek middle school is fantastic - a NATIONAL school to watch http://web.dexter.k12.mi.us/mc_index.cfm. My daughter just came back from a Gettysburgh / DC/ Mt Vernon class trip that was amazing.
Dexter High used to be so-so when I moved there 18 years ago. Now since a new school has been built and many yuppies have flocked from A2, it has improved as most kids expect to go to college. Some are going to Ivy League schools and doing well, and of course MIchigan. The school system has an excellent band/orchestra program. The Wisky marching band plays at the DHS halftime the day before they play in the Big House.
Most famous DHS /UM sports grad; Jenny Ritter - star pitcher on UM's national championship softball team.
Dexter also has great youth baseball, soccer, cross country, rugby and swimming programs. Best places in town Huron River. Cider Mill, old style drive up A&W, Old style Hardware store, Dairy Queen on days like today. A little like Mayberry RFD in a good way! There is also a local theater group that pulls in broadway talent. I saw Frank Gifford and Kathy Lee Crosby there this fall.
Many nice subs Brass Creek, the Preserve (upscale home of Barwis), and Loch Alpine ( a unique family neighborhood centered around lakes and the Ann Arbor Country Club ). Loch Alpine is the best kept secret in the county.
Chelsea is a bit more cosmopolitan and also has more older folks. Jeff Daniels' Purple Rose theater and Common Grill are treasures. Very similar towns. Great blueberry picking in between the two "rival" cities. Can go on and on.
Dexter just had their annual Memorial Day parade in which the entire town turns out to honor vets, see all the community teams, bands, etc. It is always like a norman rockwell scene. LOVE IT!!
Ypsi Township is south of I-94. It's basically all new housing developments circa 2000. You can get a 2000+ ft2 home for $150,000 or less right now. I have a 3 yr old but I've been told by her Daycare provider who's been in the area for 20+ years that Lincoln School District, the school disctrict for those below 94, is pretty good up until high school and then high school is a little lacking. They are currently building a brand new school off Martz Rd. Not sure if it's high school or Middle school but I've been told they want to make it one of the premier schools in the area. Lets hope they do for the kids sake.
You're a 20 minute or less drive from some of the Ann Arbor schools. I believe Ann Arbor schools allow Township Tranfers so you're kid could possibly go their if you wanted to drive him/her their. Ann Arbor schools are ranked 3rd and 4th in the state, so you're not going to beat their teaching skills at Lincoln, Ypsi, Dexter, or Brighton.
As for where I live, some people have gotten things stolen from out of their garage at night because they left up their garage door. Sheriff caught a few. They were high school kids.
I love the area. I'm in the country but a 15 minute ride to the east side of AA where there's movies, shopping, Sams Club, Costco. I've been told that Wal Mart is also looking at building a store near the Krogers, which is 5 minutes away. There is so many new homes and family that the area is expanding and more stores are starting to trickle in. Which is a reason for building the new school. They need more room for the amount of kids in the area.
I'd recommend it. I like my place. Couldn't speak to Dexter or Brighton but I wouldn't want to live in Ypsilanti itself. Small houses, no yards, bad neighborhoods, and college kids. Ypsi Twnshp is much more family oriented.
-Ann Arbor's public schools are Tops. As a student at Pioneer high school, I know how great the AAPS are. most of the time challenging means All AP classes forcing me to average 3-5 all nighters a month.
-Quality of living: there is a legitimate downtown, Uof M campus (including the UM hospital)
Cost of living will be higher in the city, so that's a downside.
Things to consider Politically: Ann Arbor, Dexter, and Ypsilanti will be for the most part Liberal. Brighton is generally more conservative.